Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Tuscan Ribollita – a hearty traditional vegetable, bean, and bread stew

Yesterday was the perfect day to make a big batch of comfort food – a Tuscan vegetable stew called Ribollita. We make this dish during one of the cooking classes with Chef Piero on the Tuscany food tour, but I had yet to make it at home.

You layer cooked vegetables and beans with toasted bread rubbed with fresh garlic, and then let it all sit for two hours while the ingredients come to know themselves – they come together deliciously, and the dish becomes more than the sum of its parts somehow.

The full recipe is below, following the photos.

The night before, soak your beans, and then the next morning cook them for an hour or so until tender, so they’re ready to use when you want to start cooking your stew. [I grew Tuscan zolfini beans in my garden this year, so I was excited to use this classic (and hard to find) Tuscan bean in my soup. Tuscans love zolfini beans because they become soft and creamy when cooked, but retain their shape. Cannelini or another white bean of choice can be used instead of course.]

When you’re ready to make your soup, chop up several different kinds of vegetables fairly finely, and sauté them in a large pot in a generous amount of olive oil until soft (reserving some of the raw onions for later).

Chopping up the savoy cabbage

Chopping up the savoy cabbage

Sauteing the vegetables until soft

Sauteing the vegetables until soft

While the vegetables are cooking, divide your cooked beans in half, and run half of them through the food mill (or push through a fine-mesh sieve).

A food mill is still a handy tool to have!

A food mill is still a handy tool to have!

Beans ready for adding to the stew

Beans ready for adding to the stew

Once the vegetables are soft, stir in both the whole beans and the food-milled beans, as well as some water, or broth if you prefer. (The recipe called for using the bean-soaking water, but I worry a bit about doing that, gas-wise…) Bring it to a boil and let simmer for 1 hour. While it cooks, saute the rest of the raw onion, and some garlic, until soft and just turning golden.

The vegetables and beans cooking for an hour

The vegetables and beans cooking for an hour

Sauteing the rest of the onion, and some garlic

Sauteing the rest of the onion, and some garlic

While the soup is cooking, slice your stale bread, toast it, and rub it with a cut clove of fresh garlic.

Stale sliced farm-bread toasting in the oven

Stale sliced farm-bread toasting in the oven

Rub the toast with fresh garlic

Rub the toast with fresh garlic

After the stew has cooked for an hour, turn off the heat, and stir in the onions and garlic. Then you use another large pot (or in my case, the same pot after you pour the stew out of it into a big bowl), put a layer of the garlic toast in the bottom, spoon over some stew, drizzle some olive oil over and grind some fresh pepper, then another layer of the garlic toast, and repeat until all the toast and stew are in the pot, ending with stew on top.

Layering the toast and the stew

Layering the toast and the stew

All layers in!

All layers in!

Then you put on the lid and let the stew sit for 2 hours, while all the ingredients come together. After 2 hours I went to heat the stew up gently before serving, and found that all the liquid had been absorbed!

The liquid had all been absorbed in my stew! So I added a little boiling water.

The liquid had all been absorbed in my stew! So I added a little boiling water.

So I added in a couple more cups of boiling water, stirred it, heated it gently, and served. I grated fresh parmigiano reggiano over the top of each bowl, and drizzled with a good strong olive oil. It was delicious, the bread perfectly soft, and very rich and hearty tasting, yet starting with very plain ingredients.

Recipe follows, enjoy! -Jillian

Tuscan Bread, Bean and Vegetable Soup
(La Minestra di Pane Ribollita)

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

– 1 onion, coarsely chopped
– 2 zucchini, chopped into small pieces
– 2 celery sticks, chopped into small pieces
– 2 carrots, chopped into small pieces
– 1/2 savoy cabbage, chopped into small pieces
– 20 leaves tuscan kale (also called dinosaur kale or lacinato kale) or swiss chard, chopped into small pieces
– 2 peeled tomatoes (I used 1 small can tomatoes and their juice)
– 250 grams boiled white beans (I started with about 8 ounces (by weight) of dry zolfini beans)
– 1 kg stale tuscan-style bread (I used a hearty farm bread)
– 2 cloves garlic, plus more for rubbing on the toast
– olive oil
– salt and pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, optional
– parmigiano reggiano cheese and olive oil for topping

METHOD:

1. Soak your beans the night before, and cook them until soft, so they’re ready for use. Reserve the cooking liquid if you want to add it to the stew later. Chop the onion coarsely. Chop the rest of the vegetables into small pieces, ie, zucchini, celery, carrots, and cabbage. Place half the chopped onion and the rest of the vegetables in a large stockpot, with the dried thyme if using. Add some olive oil and sauté over medium to medium-high heat until soft and well-cooked, stirring often (about 20 minutes). Add half the cooked beans, and puree the rest of the beans by passing them through a food mill, and add to the soup also. Add 8 to 12 cups water (or broth if you prefer, or use the reserved bean cooking liquid). Bring to a boil, then cook for 1 hour on medium heat, partially covered, stirring occasionally. I also added about 2 teaspoons of salt, but the Tuscans use salt quite sparingly so only add salt to your own taste.

2. While the soup is cooking, sauté in a frying pan the rest of the chopped onion and garlic (finely chopped) in olive oil. Also toast the sliced stale bread, and rub a cut clove of fresh garlic over each slice. When the soup has cooked for an hour, stir in the sautéed onions and garlic. Arrange a layer of bread in the bottom of a deep terracotta dish or a large pot with lid. Pour a few generous ladlefuls of the soup over the bread until it is covered, plus a little olive oil and freshly ground pepper.

3. Continue to layer the bread and soup in this way until the dish is full. Cover and leave to rest for approximately 2 hours. Before serving, heat the bread soup mixture gently until hot, stirring well. (My soup had absorbed all the liquid, so before heating I stirred in a couple cups of boiling water.) Serve with extra virgin olive oil drizzled on top, as well as freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, and put out the salt cellar so guests can add salt to their taste.

Spanish Membrillo – a quince paste your Manchego cheese is begging for

While visiting Spain earlier this year (working on creating two new Zingerman’s Food Tours), I got to taste a wonderful fruit-paste-and-manchego-cheese appetizer. I learned that the fruit paste was called Membrillo, and is made from fresh quince.

The taste stayed with me, and when I got back to Michigan after leading the fall Tuscany tour I decided to try making Membrillo myself. (The full recipe is at the bottom of the post, following the photos.)

First, you need to get ahold of some ripe quince. Your neighbors may have a quince tree or bush, or speciality produce stores should carry them in the fall. Make sure to get quince that are ripe – they are yellow and smell good – kind of like a ripe apple-pear aroma with a bit of pineapple thrown in. They are very hard even when ripe. I washed them and peeled them. (The recipe I used called for peeling them; I also made quince jelly, a different recipe, and for that one I did not need to peel the fruit.)

Ripe quince

Ripe quince

Peeled - they look and feel like peeled apples

Peeled – they look and feel like very firm peeled apples

Then, you cut the fruit off the core (or use a corer if you have one), and chop it roughly. Put it in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add several strips of carefully-cut lemon zest (you don’t want the white pith), and a vanilla bean pod that has been slit lengthwise, and water to cover. Bring to a boil, and simmer until the quince is soft, about 30-40 minutes.

Chopped quince

Chopped quince

Add water, a vanilla bean, and strips of lemon zest

Add water, a vanilla bean pod, and strips of lemon zest

I really enjoy the aroma of quince – while cooking it made the whole house smell fruity. Once soft, you drain the quince, discard the vanilla bean but keep the zest in with the quince. Then puree it (I used a blender), and measure how much puree you end up with so you know how much sugar to add.

Blending the quince

Blending the quince

Quince puree

Quince puree

Return the quince puree to the heavy-bottomed pot, with the heat on medium-low. Measure out the same amount of sugar as quince puree, and stir it in. When the sugar has completely dissolved, stir in the lemon juice. Continue to cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about an hour to an hour and a half. (This reminded me of cooking really good grits – I needed to find tasks to do near the kitchen where I could just pop up and stir the pot every few minutes and then go back to what I was doing.) The color will change from yellow to a deep orange, and it will get quite thick.

Quince puree with the sugar just added

Quince puree with the sugar just added

Quince puree after 1.5 hours

Quince puree after 1.5 hours

While the puree cooks, preheat the oven to 125. Butter some parchment paper well, and line a small baking pan with it. (I used a torte pan but a small square or round baking pan would be fine, 8 x 8 or 9 x 9.) Pour the quince paste in to the parchment-paper-lined pan. I used a spatula to smooth out the paste, so it was even.

Buttered parchment paper in a torte pan

Buttered parchment paper in a torte pan

The quince paste after being poured in to the baking pan

The quince paste after being poured in to the baking pan

Then I put the quince in the oven to dry for about 1.5 hours. I took it out and let it cool, before wrapping it in plastic wrap and keeping it in the fridge. The sugar in it meant that it lasted several weeks, and it was a great excuse to buy several kinds of aged cheeses to eat slices of the membrillo with. We ate the membrillo with an aged Spanish Manchego (which is sheep’s milk cheese), a cheese called Calcagno, which is another aged raw sheep’s milk cheese from Sardinia, and it was also really good with Challer-Hocker – a cow’s milk cheese that is softer than those other two – a mountain-style cheese from Switzerland. Yum. Recipe follows, enjoy!

The cooled membrillo, ready to wrap up and put in the fridge.

The cooled membrillo, ready to wrap up and put in the fridge.

The membrillo on a cheese platter - it was definitely a hit.

A wedge of the membrillo on a cheese platter – it was definitely a hit.

Spanish Membrillo
(with thanks to SimplyRecipes dot com for the recipe that I started with!)

INGREDIENTS
approx 4 pounds quince, washed, peeled, cored, roughly chopped
1 vanilla pod, split
4 strips of lemon peel – only the yellow, no pith – about 1/2 inch by 1 inch each.
3 Tbsp lemon juice
About 4 cups of granulated sugar, exact amount depends on how much quince puree you end up with

DIRECTIONS

Place quince pieces in a large saucepan and cover with water. Add the vanilla pod and lemon peel and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook until the quince pieces are soft (30-40 minutes).

Strain out the water, discard the vanilla pod, but keep the lemon peel with the quince. Purée the quince pieces in a food processor, blender, or using a food mill. Measure the quince purée. Whatever amount of quince purée you have, that’s how much sugar you will need. So if you have 4 cups of purée, you’ll need 4 cups of sugar. Return the quince purée to the large pan. Heat to medium-low. Add the sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the lemon juice.

Continue to cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the quince paste is very thick and has a deep orange color.

While the puree cooks, reheat oven to low (125°F, or 52°C). Line a 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper with a thin coating of butter. Pour the cooked quince paste into the parchment paper-lined baking pan. Smooth out the top of the paste so it is even. Place in the oven for about 1 to 1.5 hours to help it dry. Remove from oven and let cool.

To serve, cut into squares, slices, or wedges and present with Manchego (or other flavorful) cheese. To eat, take a small slice of the membrillo and spread it on top of a slice of the cheese. Store by wrapping in plastic wrap and keeping in the refrigerator.

Pork Tenderloin with Plum Chutney

The plums have just stared coming in to the markets, and I was in the mood to make a dish that reminded me of Tuscany, so this pork tenderloin recipe using fresh herbs, pancetta, and plums was just the thing. It was slightly fussy to make in that you tie it up with string, but that only took a few minutes, and the results were so worth it! Full recipe follows at the bottom of my description.

First, the herb rub for the tenderloin. I did not have herbes de Provence, so I improvised, using some fantastic herbs from Tuscany, as well as from my garden.

My herbs-de-provence substitite - fennel and thyme flowers from Tuscany, plus fresh basil and savory from my garden.

My herbs-de-provence substitite – fennel and thyme flowers from Tuscany, plus fresh basil and savory from my garden.

Minced rosemary added in too, and then mixed with a good olive oil

Minced rosemary added in too, and then mixed with a good olive oil

After rubbing the tenderloins with the olive oil and herb mixture, I draped them with the pancetta, and tied them with cotton string as best I could. It didn’t take that long.

Laying the pancetta onto (and under) the herb-rubbed tenderloins.

Laying the pancetta onto (and under) the herb-rubbed tenderloins.

Tenderloins and pancetta tied up with string!

Tenderloins and pancetta tied up with string!

I covered the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. And then I made the plum chutney. I had four very ripe black plums, which peeled easily without having the blanch them.

First you cook the shallot with the brown sugar and spices.

First you cook the shallot with the brown sugar and spices.

Then you add the plums and simmer for a few minutes.

Then you add the plums and simmer for a few minutes.

It was surprisingly easy to make a really tasty chutney. I put it in the fridge over night too. Pulled it out the next day and rewarmed it a little bit while I grilled the tenderloins.

The chutney, ready to eat

The chutney, ready to eat

The tenderloins on the grill, you brown them first and then cook over lower heat.

The tenderloins on the grill, you brown them first and then cook over lower heat.

The cooking time on the tenderloins was pretty short; definitely use a meat thermometer.

The cooked tenderloins, resting for a few minutes before slicing.

The cooked tenderloins, resting for a few minutes before slicing.

Dinner - with some beet greens and chard, and a wild rice and brown rice mix. Delicious!

Dinner – with some beet greens and chard, and a wild rice and brown rice mix. Delicious!

It was a fantastic meal, and a festive-looking one so great to make for a dinner party. And even more so because the things that take the most time can be done the day before. Recipe follows, enjoy! -Jillian

RECIPE

Pork Tenderloin with Plum Chutney
(original source: Bon Appetit, slightly modified)

INGREDIENTS:

Plum Chutney
– 4 ripe red or black plums (I used black plums)
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 large shallot, sliced lengthwise
– 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
– 1/4 cup sherry vinegar or apple cider vinegar
– 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
– 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
– 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated peeled
– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
– 1 bay leaf
– kosher salt

Pork
– 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
– 4 teaspoons herbes de provence OR some other combination (such as fennel flowers, thyme, savory, basil)
– 4 teaspoons olive oil
– 2 pork tenderloins (about 2 lbs)
– kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
– 16 thin slices pancetta, about 8 oz, or prosciutto

METHOD:

1. PLUM CHUTNEY
Peel plums, if desired. (Mine peeled easily but you could try dropping them in boiling water for a minute if yours don’t.) Halve and pit. Cut into 1/2″ wedges.Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar, next 6 ingredients, and 1/4 cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in plums. Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until fruit is soft and juices have thickened, 20–25 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Let cool slightly. DO AHEAD: Chutney can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and chill. Rewarm slightly before serving.

2. PORK
Stir rosemary, herbes de Provence, and oil in a small bowl. Rub all over pork; season with salt and pepper. Wrap pancetta slices around pork and tie at 2″ intervals with kitchen twine to hold together. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. (NOTE: I did this a day ahead and I think it improves the flavor to sit overnight with the herb rub on it.)
If using a charcoal grill, build a medium-hot fire; push coals over to 1 side of grill. If using a gas grill, heat all but 1 burner to high. Grill tenderloins over hot part of grill, turning frequently, until a crisp brown crust forms on all sides, 8—10 minutes. Move tenderloins to cooler part of grill to gently cook through; cover and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of each loin registers 145°, 15—20 minutes longer. (NOTE: we only needed to cook it 10 minutes, check after 10.) Transfer tenderloins to a cutting board. Let rest for 10 minutes. Slice thinly and serve with plum chutney alongside. (We served this with a brown-and-wild-rice mix, and some steamed chard/beet greens. Delicious!)

Good winter reading on Italy – A Year in the Village of Eternity

I just finished reading A Year in the Village of Eternity: The Lifestyle of Longevity in Campodimele, Italy, by Tracey Lawson. The author decides to visit the village when she hears that a disproportionate number of residents in Campodimele live into their 90s and 100s – she wants to learn about their food and their lifestyle to gain insight into why they live longer.

I enjoyed it, and found it to be engagingly written with a light, cheerful tone. She narrates short vignettes of her experiences learning from the residents about daily life in the mountain village, month by month through the year. Each month is a separate section and has multiple pages of recipes, tied in to its in-season ingredients and festival dishes.

The individual stories within each section are very short, which makes for good bedtime reading. There are a couple of color-photo-sections too, which are fun to look through after you’ve read most of the book and been introduced to the personalities shown in the photos.

I haven’t tried cooking from the book yet, but plan to. The recipes range from simple-looking one-pagers, such as the Fresh Beans with Oil, Garlic, and Parsley, to four-pagers or more, such as the Lasagna with Minced Veal. One challenge may be getting some of the ingredients called for, but I plan to swap in where necessary. This book might just inspire me to make more of my own ricotta!

The author also gives recipes for traditional foods that are unlikely to be made by your average cook, but an adventuresome few will find it intriguing – such as her recipe for Air-Dried Spicy Sausage, where the chopped meat is to be piped in to fresh, rinsed, pig intestine.

I look forward to some winter cooking fun with this one, and since the recipes are so seasonal I expect I’ll be pulling it out in spring, summer, and fall as well.

Recipes from an “Evening in Sicily” at Zingerman’s Roadhouse

Gioacchino in the Roadhouse kitchen

Gioacchino Passalaqua, an Italian artisanal food exporter and native Sicilian who co-leads our Sicily Food Tour with us, worked closely with Chef Alex and the rest of the Roadhouse crew to create an amazing multi-course dinner last Tuesday, January 10, 2012! The food wowed the sold-out crowd, and after numerous people clamored for the recipes Gioacchino agreed to write them up for us.

Please note, for the most part, Italians don’t tend to give quantities and specifics – you use “a pinch of this” and “a spoonful of that” and cook for “as long as is needed” – but we asked Gioacchino to please give quantities and details whenever he could. Some of the quantities will seem odd, and that’s because they are Gioacchino’s conversions from metric.

So, please use your creativity and cooking intuition to fill in any gaps where needed, and please let us know if you try making any of these and have more details that we can add in.

Sicilians, like most Italians, use excellent-quality extra-virgin olive oil, and they use it in large quantities – so, if you want your dishes to taste authentic, get a great oil, and don’t skimp in using it!

One other note, three Sicilian wines were served with the meal – two Nero d’Avola’s, and one Il Frappato.

Enjoy!

A n t i p a s t i

“Beccafico” Sardines

Ingredients for 6 people:
2-1/2 pounds cleaned, fresh sardines, spines and large bones removed, so each sardine is in two long separate halves
Extra virgin olive oil
9 bay leaves

Stuffing:
8 oz of bread crumbs
Extra virgin olive oil
lemon juice, one lemon
lemon peel, half lemon
sugar, 2 italian caffe spoon
salt, as enough
parsley, 2 spoons
capers, 1-1/2 ounces
black olives diced and without pits, 1-1/2 ounces
toasted and diced almonds, 2 ounces
2-1/2 ounces of raisins
2-1/2 ounces of pine nuts

Preparation
Mix all the stuffing ingredients until it has a compact/forming consistency. Take half a sardine, put some stuffing into the middle and then roll the ends of the sardine up around the stuffing. Then put sardine rolls in a baking pan with extra virgin olive oil and bay leaves. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cook at 350F  for 15/20 minutes.

 

Eggplant parmigiania and a stuffed sardine

Eggplant parmigiana

Ingredients for 6 people:
3 eggplants
High-temperature vegetable oil for deep frying (Note, Gioacchino says he often uses extra virgin olive oil for deep frying.)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sugar 2 italian caffe spoon
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
Tomato puree, 35 ounce
Fresh basil as needed
Caciocavallo and pecorino cheeses, as needed

Preparation
Wash the eggplants, peel them and slice in strips. Then slices the eggplant making sure that all will be roughly the same thickness of .60 inches. Place the eggplant in a container full of water and salt, it is important that the eggplants are completely immersed in the water.
Drain and deep frying in a high-temperature oil. As soon are well cooked set them on a tray, on which you previously placed a paper towel, and let them drain the oil. Sprinkle with some pinches of salt while still warm.

Fry the finely chopped onion in extra virgin olive oil, then add the tomato puree. Add a few leaves of basil. Season with salt, pepper and a few tablespoons of sugar. Cook until you get a dense enough sauce. At this point, in a rectangular baking dish, lay a layer of fried eggplant cover with the sauce, sprinkle the grated cheese you have decided to use and conclude with a few leaves of basil.
Put the eggplant parmigiana in the oven at 390 degrees F for about 40 minutes until the tomatoes sauce present the characteristic golden “crust”.

Give panelle a squirt of fresh lemon juice.

Panelle

Ingredients for 6 people:
1-1/2 liters of water
18.5 ounces of chickpea flour
1 bunch of fresh parsley
high-temperature vegetable oil for deep frying (Note, Gioacchino says he often uses extra virgin olive oil for deep frying.)
Salt and pepper

Preparation
In a pan add a quart of warm water and salt as needed. Add slowly the flour, stir it slowly, so that no lumps are formed. Place the pan on the stove and then add the finely chopped parsley. Stir until the liquid has congealed enough to separate from the sides of the pan. Turn off the heat and pour the mixture onto a hard flat wet surface (ideally a marble counter top that is ok to cut on) that you moisten with some water first to reduce sticking. Spread it with a spatula to obtain a uniform surface of about 3 mm. Allow to cool. Cut the dough into squares and then into triangles, and fry in abundant oil and hot frying pan. When the triangles are golden brown on both sides take out from frying pan, lay them on a plate with paper towels and add salt and pepper.

Lentil Soup of Ustica

Ingredients for 6 people
Extra virgin olive oil
17.64 oz Ustica lentils (very small and brown)
2 carrots, minced
half an onion, minced
salt
black pepper
fresh wild fennel, a small branch, minced

Pour extra virgin olive oil in a pan with the finely chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes then add carrots, lentils and fill with water. After few minutes add the chopped fennel, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat until the lentils are fully cooked, about 20/30 minutes.

Mm, cheese...

“Argentiera” Cacio Cheese

Ingredients for 6 people:
6 slices of cheese (semiarid Ragusano or Caciocavallo, 5-1/2 oz each)(Note, if unavailable you could try using a semi-aged provolone)
Extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves
3 tbsp of white wine vinegar
Dried Oregano one spoon
Black pepper

Preparation
In a skillet, put extra virgin olive oil and saute garlic. Then remove the garlic from the skillet. Put the cheese and cook until golden brown in color. Spray or drizzle vinegar and a generous sprinkle of oregano and black pepper. Cover the skillet and cook on medium heat for 2-4 minutes. Place cheese on serving plate. Serve hot.

P r i m i

All three pastas

Pasta with “Trapanese pesto”

Ingredients for 6 people:
Campo D’oro “Trapanese” pesto sauce (mixed vegetables)
1 jar of pesto Trapanese
1,1 lb of pasta (busiate shape is preferred, this is like a longer strozzapreti)
Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation
Heat condiment in a large skillet with 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Boil pasta until al dente in salted boiling water. Set aside a cup of the water used to boil the pasta. When ready to serve toss pasta in pan with heated condiment and adjust consistency using the water used to boil the pasta.

Pasta with Pistachio Pesto and Eggplant

Ingredients for 6 people:

6 oz eggplant
1 jar of pistachio pesto
1.1 lb of pasta
Extra virgin olive oil
(Note, Zingerman’s Deli and Zingerman’s Mail Order will probably have the pistachio pesto.)

Preparation
Wash the eggplants, peel and dice them making sure that are roughly all the same dimension about 1.20 x 1.20. Place the eggplant in a container full of water and salt, it is important that the eggplants are completely immersed in the water.
Drain and deep frying in extra virgin olive oil. As soon are well cooked set them on a tray, on which you previously placed a paper towel, and let them drain the oil. Sprinkle with some pinches of salt while still warm.
Heat the pistachio pesto in a large skillet with 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and add the fried eggplant. Boil pasta until al dente in salted boiling water. Set aside a cup of the water used to boil the pasta. When ready to serve toss pasta in pan with heated pistachio pesto and adjust consistency using the water used to boil the pasta.

Pasta with cauliflower

Ingredients for 6 people:
1 large head of cauliflower, core removed and discarded, florets coarsely chopped
1.1 lb of pasta (Bugatini shape preferred)
Toasted fresh breadcrumbs for garnishing pasta, 5.3 ounces
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Black pepper
Pine nuts, 2.85 oz
Raisins, 2.45 oz
Onion, half

Preparation
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Break cauliflower into flowerets. Add about a tablespoon of salt to the water, and boil the cauliflower in it until it is tender but not mushy. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove the cauliflower and set it aside. (KEEP cooking water.) When it is cool enough to handle, chop it roughly into small pieces.
In a large deep skillet, saute onion, previously chopped very fine, in extra virgin olive oil, until onion is golden. Start cooking pasta in same pot and same water as was used for the cauliflower.
When the onion is ready, add the cauliflower, pine nuts, and raisins and cook for a few minutes until all the ingredients are blended. When pasta is just about done, drain it, reserving about a cup of cooking liquid.
Add pasta to skillet containing the cauliflower, and toss until they are well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with just enough pasta water to keep the mixture moist but not soupy.

S e c o n d i

Roast Beef with salted chocolate

Ingredients for 6 people:
Antica Dolceria Bonajuto Dark chocolate bar flavored with salt 4 oz, cut into small pieces
3.3 lb Roast Beef, tenderloin round
1 big carrot finely minced
1 clove of garlic finely minced
1 bay leaf
5-6 cups beef or vegetable stock
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Black pepper
(Note, Zingerman’s Deli and Zingerman’s Mail Order should have the Bonajuto chocolate.)

Preparation
Lightly season the roast beef with salt and pepper. Put in a saucepan the minced carrot and minced garlic, the bay leaf, 5-6 cups of vegetable stock and extra virgin olive oil. Brown the meat in another pan at high heat. When done, lay the roast in the saucepan with the vegetables and broth and cook in the oven at 375 F until the roast is cooked rare to medium rare. Take the beef from the oven and let rest 15 minutes. Then cut into thin slices. When is ready to serve. Place the roast beef on the plate and garnish with chocolate and serve immediately to avoid the chocolate completely melting before it is served.

Roast beef, stuffed pepper, and a baked onion slice with breadcrumbs

Gioacchino in the Roadhouse rear dining room, at the Sicily dinner

Stuffed Peppers cut in half

Ingredients for 6 people:
3 bell pepper
Salt
Black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
4 potatoes medium size
grated parmigiano cheese 8.9 oz
4 eggs
white bread, 7 oz
parsley
capers, 5.5 oz
pitted olives black olives, 7 oz

Wash the bell peppers dried and cut them in two parts then remove all the seeds contained in.
Prepare the stuffing, cook the potatoes in salted water with all the skin. As soon as cooked make a mash. Soak bread in milk and squeeze tight. Finely chop capers, olives and parsley. When the previous steps are completed put all the ingredients together and add cheese and eggs, mix until the filling is perfectly mixed. Place the bell pepper in a pan previously greased with extra virgin olive oil and add a pinch of salt in the peppers. Stuff the peppers and cover the surface with cheese and a splash of extra virgin olive oil. Bake at a temperature of 380 F for about half an hour.

Breaded baked onions

Ingredients for 6 people:

3 Giarratana or Vidalia onions
Bread crumbs, 7 oz
White wine vinegar, sprinkle
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Salt
Black pepper

Preparation
Slice the onion in horizontal round slices in order to obtain the same thickness and the maximum size. Oil the baking dish and place the rounds of sliced onions on it. Sprinkle the onions with extra virgin olive oil, add salt and pepper and cover with bread crumbs. Sprinkle all with white wine vinegar and bake at 350 F until the top is a bit brown and bubbling, about 15 – 20 minutes.

D e s s e r t

Mousse of vanilla chocolate

Mousse of vanilla chocolate

Ingredients for 6 people:
Antica Dolceria Bonajuto Dark chocolate bar 45% flavored with vanilla, 2 oz, melted
1 oz Bonajuto chocolate, crumbled
8 oz heavy cream
2 oz sugar

(Note, Zingerman’s Deli and Zingerman’s Mail Order should have the Bonajuto chocolate.)

Preparation
Whip the heavy cream and the sugar until cream is stands in soft peaks in mixing bowl. Add half of the whipped cream to the melted chocolate and combine well by folding it in. Add the rest of the whipped cream and crumbled chocolate to the mixture. Place mousse in serving dish and chill for 1 hour. Garnish with a few pieces of crumbled chocolate and a sprig of mint.